In October, we realized that we were going to have to give up Liam's dog. His shoulder was getting worse and worse, and every time it started to get better, the dog (who is 70+ pounds of solid puppy muscle) would yank on the leash and retear his shoulder/bicep. It was at the point that pain meds weren't touching it (medications are not particularly effective on him anyway, something he was born with. Remind me one day to tell you the story of his mole being removed, and how the doctor would not believe that the Novocaine was not taking effect), and he was constantly suffering throughout the day.
After identifying the dog as the source of his constant reinjury, Liam willingly broke his own heart and handed over Nashua to another family in the Guiding Eyes training program. This family has been fantastic. They have several teenagers, all in involved in sports, so Nashua is constantly stimulated and exhausted by the end of the day. "Does he go jogging?" they asked when we handed him over. "'Cause he's going to go now." Stimulated and exhausted is a good state for a puppy with a mind as sharp as his. It means he gets into significantly less mischief!
Liam misses his dog every day. Originally, he was hoping that his shoulder would heal quickly and we would get the dog back within a month, but that timeline looks less and less feasible (although his arm is healing). Even when he is diligent about not using his arm, the healing takes slow. Yesterday he did some fall yardwork (I weep at all the leaves! So many leaves....), and this morning he is certain that he's set himself back two weeks just from the vibrations of the lawnmower jostling his injured muscle.
We did get to see Nashua on Sunday when we attended the bi-weekly training class. He did a double-take when he saw us! He looked very healthy, and very mellow, and was completely unconcerned that he had not seen us for weeks. Alas, this lack of long-term attachment is exactly why Labradors are used for this training! Unlike other breeds, they quickly stop pining for their trainers and reattach to their new owners.
Sunday afternoon and evening we spent at the New Horizons soup kitchen, volunteering to serve up a Veteran's Day dinner to the Manchester homeless. Liam and I were placed at the check-in table, keeping track of who came in, ages, genders, etc. Once again I proved to be completely oblivious, as Liam noted that a significant number of the people coming in 1) went to me instead of him, even after we switched seats to see if being closer or farther to the door made a difference, 2) were intoxicated (the kitchen is a 'wet' service, meaning that they elect to feed folks even if they have been drinking or self-medicating. They do screen people before they let them in the door, though, turning away violent or fall-down drunk persons). I had absolutely no idea, and it struck me that apparently many of the less fortunate and homeless folks I have dealt with over the years were probably intoxicated and I was oblivious. All this time I thought that the ones that slurred their words and had a hard time focusing or standing straight were suffering from some mental impairment or old head injury. Nope. Apparently I am just completely oblivious. (This is supported by the time one of the workers at my old job came in drunk or high and I thought she was just tired and sick and had been crying. Completely oblivious.)
The New Horizons soup kitchen is apparently run by a NH television personality, Charlie Sherman, and it warms my heart to see how much he cares for the people less fortunate than him. He had brought in a 10 person brass band and they played for the homeless folks during dinner (it was very hard to hear people as we checked them in. They were loud.), which was much appreciated by the diners. How little joy they have in their lives!